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LA??? The Art of Advocacy: Mooting and Forensic Rhetoric

The details of this module are still in the approval process and may be subject to change.

In recognition of his achievements in teaching, Professor Gary Watt was named UK “Law Teacher of the Year” in 2009 and subsequently received a Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence (2009) and a National Teaching Fellowship (2010). This module incorporates methods that Gary has used over many years in rhetoric workshops for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

This module will develop competence in the practical, performative and ethical arts of appellate court advocacy and forensic (ie. ‘court room’) rhetoric

  • A demonstration moot will be performed within the first three weeks of term, with a staff member acting as judge
  • Origins of mooting and rhetorical controversiae
  • The example of celebrated rhetoricians and advocates of the past
  • Nature of mooting in modern educational contexts
  • Forensic rhetoric - on invention, arrangement, memory, delivery and style
  • Judging a moot
  • The conversational ideal and the function of formality
  • On judicial style
  • Practice in “fair hearing”
  • Logos/Logic I - on binding authority
  • Logos/Logic II - on persuasive authority
  • Rhetorical ethos and the limits of logos / logic
  • Appreciating the difference between a logical audit and an ethical audit of the outcomes of judicial statements, focusing on particular cases eg. Re A (Separation of Conjoined Twins)
  • Metaphor as logical method
  • Gesture, costume and staging of forensic performance

Assessment Method

30% Final Moot Performance based on a moot on a 1st year module topic (property, crime or tort) (including max 500 words written reflections post-performance) + 50% Reflective journal (max 2,500 words) + 20% Moot skeleton arguments (max 1,500 words)


John Snape and Gary Watt, How to Moot: A Student Guide to Mooting 2nd edn (OUP, 2010)
Iain Morley QC, The Devil's Advocate 3rd edn (Sweet & Maxwell, 2015)
Adrian Whitfield QC, The Art of Persuasion: Tradition and Technique (Middle Temple, 2015)
Richard Du Cann, The Art of the Advocate (Penguin Law, 1993)
Sam Leith, You Talkin' To Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama (Profile Books, 2012)
Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric
Thomas Wilson, Arte of Rhetorique (1560)
Quentin Skinner, Forensic Shakespeare (OUP, 2014)
Robert and Susan Cockcroft et al, Persuading People: An Introduction to Rhetoric 3rd edn (Palgrave, 2014)
Wayne C Booth, The Rhetoric of Rhetoric, 2004
Gleeson and Higgins (eds), Rediscovering Rhetoric: Law, Language, and the Practice of Persuasion (Federation Press, 2008)
James Boyd White, The Legal Imagination (Boston: Little, Brown, 1973)
James Boyd White, Heracles’ Bow: Essays on the Rhetoric and Poetics of the Law (Wisconsin, 1985)
James Boyd White, The Edge of Meaning (Chicago, 2001)
James Boyd White, Living Speech (Princeton, 2006)
James Boyd White, Acts of Hope (Chicago, 1994)
Julen Etxabe and Gary Watt, Living in a Law Transformed: Encounters with the Work of James Boyd White (Michigan, 2014)
Marianne Constable’s Our Word is Our Bond: How Legal Speech Acts (Stanford, 2014)
Neil MacCormick, Rhetoric and the Rule of Law (OUP, 2005).
Peter Goodrich, Legal Discourse: Studies in Linguistics, Rhetoric and Legal Analysis (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1987)
Julen Etxabe, The Experience of Tragic Judgment (Routledge, 2013)
Victoria Khan and Laura Hutson, Rhetoric and Law in Early Modern Europe (Yale, 2001)
Erik Gyunderson, The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Rhetoric (Cambridge, 2009)
[attrib.Cicero], Rhetorica ad Herennium
Cicero De Inventione; De Optimo Genere Oratorum; Topica
Cicero, De Oratore
Bernard J. Hibbitts, ‘Making Sense of Metaphors: Visuality, Aurality and the Reconfiguration of American Legal Discourse’ (1994) 16 Cardozo Law Review 229-356 (online)
Gary Watt, Equity Stirring: The Story of Justice Beyond Law (Hart, 2009), on metaphoric reasoning
Richard Dawson, Justice as Attunement (Routledge, 2014)
James Parker, Acoustic Jurisprudence: Listening to the Trial of Simon Bikindi (Oxford, 2015)
Gregory S. Aldrete, Gestures and Acclamations in Ancient Rome (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003)
Thomas Woodcock, Legal Habits: A Brief Sartorial History of Wig, Robe and Gown (Ede and Ravenscroft, 2003)
Gary Watt, Dress, Law and Naked Truth: A Cultural Study of Fashion and Form (Bloomsbury, 2013)
Linda Mulcahy, Legal Architecture: Justice, Due Process and the Place of Law (Routledge, 2010)
Judicial College, Equal Treatment Bench Book (Judicial Studies Board, 2013) (online)